First case of novel coronavirus confirmed in Finland

Molecular illustration of a 2019 novel coronavirus comparative model.
Molecular illustration of a 2019 novel coronavirus comparative model. Source: Gianluca Tomasello/Wikimedia Commons

A Chinese tourist admitted to Lapland Central Hospital in Rovaniemi is confirmed to have contracted the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), also known as the Wuhan coronavirus, Finnish public broadcaster Yle reported Wednesday.

The patient, a 32-year-old woman who had left Wuhan in China's Hubei Province five days prior, had sought medical attention in Ivalo when she first began experiencing symptoms, and after being transferred to Lapland Central Hospital, samples were taken which tested positive in Helsinki for the virus, Yle writes.

"It was to be expected that cases brought by visitors could also come to light in Finland, however the risk of the disease spreading in Finland is still very small, so there is no need for concern," said Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) director Mika Salminen.

Thus far, officials estimate that some 15 people may have been exposed to infection. Health authorities will monitor persons exposed to the risk of infection for 14 days, in accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, and the confirmed patient will be double-tested to ensure that she is clear of the disease before being released from quarantine.

Estonia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised travelers to avoid traveling to China's Hubei Province. The Health Board is also advising anyone traveling to or in China to follow regular hygiene requirements as well as avoid live animal and seafood markets and contact with animals or sick people.

China has advised its citizens to postpone foreign travel and has banned Chinese tourist groups from traveling abroad.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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